|System: PS4, Xbox One|
|Dev: Square Enix Business Division 2|
|Pub: Square Enix|
|Release: September 30, 2016|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Not yet assigned a final ESRB rating.|
We've already had one Final Fantasy XV demo experience. Back in March, Square Enix released a Platinum Demo that followed young Noctis through his dreams, giving people an idea of the locations they'll visit and the fights they'll engage in. At E3 2016, Square Enix kicked things up a notch. I was able to undertake The Trial of the Titan, and I couldn't have imagined a fight of such a scope in this sort of game.
Noctis seems to have some sort of ability to connect to otherworldly creatures. We saw that in the Platinum demo, and it surfaced again in Final Fantasy XV's Trial of the Titan. He came across this ginormous titan, which seemed to be attempting to communicate something. He tried to connect, but it was a hostile force. There was no reasoning with it. There was only survival.
The titan struck back. One of his fingers is about the size of Noctis, making this very much a life or death situation. Noctis fell to the foot of this canyon, leading the titan to try and squish him. Gladiolus jumped in after him. While I was able to have Noctis use one of his smaller, one-handed blades to block a strike from the titan's foot and parry it, the other headed right for him. It was only through Gladiolus' intervention that the two survived.
The battle shifted to a chase, then. The titan had the duo in its sights, and Noctis and Gladiolus had to regroup with Ignis and Prompto. The titan's hand was constantly sweeping and striking the field during this portion, requiring Noctis to constantly run. At one point, I had to make him jump into a pit that seemed to have no exit, until Gladiolus called me over to boost Noctis over a cliff.
During this escape, Gladiolus tried to buy me some time. He told me to run, while he held the titan's hand back. I was able to use Noctis' warp strike to move to a more open field. There, I needed to block and parry the titan's palm strikes in succession, holding out until my three allies appeared.
It was then that the point of the E3 Trial of the Titan was made clear. I had an option. In addition to two one-handed swords and a heavy sword, Noctis had Blizzara magic equipped. I'd been using it, since it was super effective against the rocky foe. A new objective appeared - freeze the titan's arm. Immediately, I was given the option to lock onto the creature's arm and begin throwing the spell. Once enough casting had been done, a cinematic showed all four men throwing ice magic at the titan, its arm freezing, and Noctis delivering a finishing blow that shattered the arm.
It was extraordinary. To start, it showed a Final Fantasy battle of an unimaginable scope. While there've always been oversized boss fights in the series, the turn-based nature diminished the effect. There's a four-story tall behemoth ahead of me! He'll wait for me to make my decisions before attacking. This is a terror that feels more visceral because of the dynamic nature of this fight and battle system.
It also allowed a better glimpse at the effect magic has in Final Fantasy XV. We've been told it can alter the environment, as well as do damage to enemies. When Noctis and his friends began casting Blizzara, ice was everywhere. Their hair, faces, and bodies were coated, as was the titan and ground. It was an extraordinary and exemplary detail.
Final Fantasy XV's Trial of the Titan was meant to wow everyone at E3. And believe me, it worked. This is the sort of fight I'd never seen in a Final Fantasy game before. There was this constant sense of movement and danger, yet also a feeling of overwhelming power and accomplishment that stemmed from exploiting a weakness and taking that titan down. It was a very special moment, and I hope the final game contains many like it.
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